Update August 2007
Daihatsu Holland is the Dutch importer and distributor of Daihatsu Motors, Japan's compact car specialist. A LANSA customer since 1991, Daihatsu Holland replaced a cumbersome fax ordering system and a complex Delphi system with a LANSA Web-based dealer system. Daihatsu is one of the fastest growing car brands in Holland and the company's Web-based real-time dealer support system is crucial to the success of over 100 dealers. The first Web system module was developed in just 27 man-days and allows for ordering and inquiry of parts and accessories. The Web system was then extended with a module for vehicle orders and online warranty management.
Recently Daihatsu used LANSA to develop a solution for its Daihatsu Mobility Service, which entitles customers to repair and emergency assistance throughout Europe. This service has already attracted over 10,000 customers and is growing fast.
Raymond Ginus, IT manager at Daihatsu Holland, said, "The Web-based dealer system has drastically improved the accuracy and quality of the ordering process, while reducing the number of phone calls. Daihatsu dealers now have 24 hours a day access to up-to-date inventory information, including weekends, which helps them to provide a better service to their customers."
"We used our existing LANSA and iSeries skills for both the dealer Web extensions and our core solution. Now we are looking into using Visual LANSA to move both systems into a single and modern framework."
"Being in control of our LANSA in-house developed logistics and sales systems, gives us the flexibility to meet the exact requirements of our business and dealers. Some of our dealers carry multiple brands and they often comment that our system is easier to use and closer to their requirements than other dealer systems. Our system offers everything the dealer needs."
"Because LANSA is easy to use and productive, we can manage the entire system, maintenance and development with a team of two, including myself. We feel very proud that we can deliver and manage such a large system with so few staff. You can only achieve such efficiency in the IT department with a productive development tool that creates robust and architectural sound applications. LANSA is the right choice for us."
"We aim to sell 10,000 cars next year. With our fuel efficient models supported by quality IT systems, we will be able to realize that target."
Daihatsu beats Y2K deadline and goes online in 27 days
This case study originally published in 2000.
Daihatsu Holland, the Dutch importer and distributor of Daihatsu Motors, Japan's compact car specialist, has replaced a cumbersome fax ordering system and a complex Delphi system with a LANSA for the Web based dealer system. The Web system was developed in just 27 man-days and allows for ordering and inquiry of spare parts and accessories, soon to be followed by a warranty system and ordering of cars. Daihatsu is one of the fastest growing car brands in Holland and the company's Web based real-time dealer support system is crucial to the success of over 100 dealers.
Raymond Ginus, IT Manager at Daihatsu Holland, says "Within a few months of implementation the number of phone calls in the spare parts section has been reduced from five man hours each day to two man hours at the most."
"When we implement the warranty system I estimate that we save another four hours of phone calls each day and when car orders are possible we will save a number of hours again. I estimate that we will reduce phone calls by as much as 80% when fully implemented."
"But it is not just our time we save. The dealers save time as well because we don't have to put their calls on hold anymore. More importantly, the dealer can place orders and get information about availability for 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week."
The LANSA Web application replaces a packaged Delphi solution that had to be installed at each of the dealers. There were programs that refreshed and updated price and availability data and also collected order information from the dealers. LANSA Open was used to transfer the data from the AS/400 to an OS/2 machine and from that OS/2 the data got distributed to dealers. The dealer initiated the daily collecting and sending of data.
Raymond explains the shortcomings of the old system "Regularly something would go wrong in this process and the system was too slow. The old system was used by only 40 dealers. Even with that small number of dealers and most orders still coming in by fax, data preparation and transmission already took 4 hours. In the old Delphi solution dealers had to update their local system if we changed a program. This update process was complex and time consuming."
"We wanted a system that worked for over 100 dealers. Because we didn't like the system there was no point in rolling it out to more dealers."
"There was another problem. The system was not Y2K compatible. The vendor of the system offered a Windows based upgrade, but we wanted to stay with the AS/400. Finally in August 1999, just 4 months away from the year 2000, we decided to look for another solution!"
"We knew we wanted a browser based solution that could be maintained centrally and would require minimal installation efforts for the dealers, but at the same time would completely integrate with our AS/400 solution."
Dealers can place orders and get information about availability, 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week
Building a Better Solution in Three Months
Raymond continues "Our core system is developed in LANSA and works fine and is Y2K compatible. It was the Delphi dealer application that was not Y2K."
"We already knew of the LANSA advantages and were looking at LANSA for the Web. First of all we had LANSA skills. Secondly we knew that LANSA applications are easy to build and more importantly easy to maintain."
"Thirdly, LANSA for the Web would integrate seamlessly with our AS/400 core system. So LANSA for the Web was clearly the best choice."
"The LANSA office in Amsterdam offered to build our Web application for a very affordable price and guaranteed delivery within three months. A single LANSA developer started in August and he delivered a working system at the beginning of December. But it only took him 27 man-days, since he was not assigned to the project fulltime."
"In December 1999 we started with the first 50 dealers and four months later we implemented the system to another 50 dealers. One month later we stopped taking fax orders.
Peter van Venrooij, Dealer Network Liaison Officer, comments "The biggest advantage for the dealers is that they get an immediate answer on stock availability. Most showrooms are open weekends. Now a dealer can get an immediate answer, even on the weekend."
Raymond explains "We save a lot of time. With the fax system we had to enter all the orders manually. If the fax was difficult to read or if a part showed up on our data entry screens as out of stock, then we would call the dealer to discuss the alternatives. Now we don't have those issues. I estimate that at least one full time person can now dedicate his or her time on other customer service matters. When we implement the warranty and car ordering system, savings and service will grow further."
"Many dealers create a separate order for each customer and enter the customer name in the order description. That description will be printed on the delivery note, so when the parts arrive it is easy to see which part is for which customer. This is more convenient for the dealer. In the fax system we would usually received just one order each day with many lines."
"The dealers find the browser based system easy to use," continues Raymond. "We provided a one afternoon training session for those interested. This was mainly for those dealers that had not used the Delphi system and were not used to any form of computer based ordering."
"LANSA also has a very short learning curve for developers. At another company I worked for I developed with Synon. When I joined Daihatsu I only needed a few days LANSA training and after that I was able to maintain and enhance the core LANSA system."
"Earlier this year I followed a few days LANSA for the Web training with a colleague and now we can maintain the Web dealer system our selves. Of course we had to familiarize ourselves with event driven Web logic, but it was still a lot easier than I expected it to be. Now we are working on the first big LANSA for the Web project we do ourselves, the Warranty system. LANSA is the tool for us, we are very happy with it."
"Because the same LANSA Repository is used by LANSA for the Web and our core system, that logic and any other business rules are automatically executed for Web orders. In fact, the Web programmer doesn't even need to be aware of these rules. The reuse of business rules is a major advantage of LANSA."
"We use a single AS/400 for all our operational systems, the dealer network and development. We upgraded our AS/400 model 500 to a model 170 and are pleased with the performance. We choose the AS/400 because it is a reliable machine. We cannot afford the AS/400 to be down for even one hour. We never have any issues with our AS/400, it is always up and running. I cannot say the same for our NT mail server."
We use a single AS/400 for our operational systems, the dealer network and development. It is always up and running
Dealers dial in to DAICOM, the dealer network and log in with their user-id and password. The rest of the session is personalized for the dealer.
Dealers can place new orders, trace existing orders, search for all orders that contain a specific item number and view which invoices are linked to which orders. We keep three years of history on our AS/400, that now also becomes available to our dealers. Dealers can also search for spare part information by item number or (part of) the description. Item information includes in which cars that part can be used, recommended retail price, stock position and information for special price actions.
Raymond explains "Dealers can also create a 'model order'. This means creating a logical group of items that can be pulled into an order with a single key-stroke. Model orders are used, for example, to order all parts that are needed for a standard small service to a certain car model. Both the dealer and Daihatsu can create model orders."
"The application offers also offers a few file transfer facilities for which we generate FTP scripts on our AS/400 for each dealer. A few times a year we prepare product information for 26,000 items in a simplified format. Dealers can download this information and import it in their local garage solution. We support three local garage solutions. We also allow dealers to prepare their larger orders of-line in their local garage solution and send that to us. In the same Web session the order will be validated and offered for confirmation to the dealer."
"We have a part-locator module in the planning that would help to locate dead-stock at the dealers. If we don't have a part in stock and we have to order it from Japan, it may take several weeks. This is unnecessary if another dealer has that part in stock. We would like the dealers to periodically upload their inventory to us. We want to store that information in a central database and offer a Web based part-locator facility for our dealers."
Raymond explains that other Web facilities are on the drawing board. "We spend several hours a day on entering claims that the dealers send us. Currently we often have to call the dealer for clarification. If the dealer enters a claim, then we can validate the information immediately at the source. The claim system is already available, all we need to do is add browser based claims entry and inquiry functions."
"We also want to use LANSA for the Web to automate the ordering of cars and offer Web facilities for other standard requests, such as ordering of replacement car keys."
Raymond advises a staged implementation plan to any company planning to start with eBusiness and says "First of all, the underlying core application needs to be good. Then you need a powerful enough AS/400 and a reasonable bandwidth to the Internet. Then in a staged process you can start to add Web interfaces where required. With this approach the dealer gets time to get used to the new options. For us it is easier to manage and the approach allowed us to deliver the most important functionality within 27 days. Now we can keep on adding other functions progressively."
Raymond concludes "We would like to have as much as possible of the standard communication between us and the dealer automated. That way we can spend more time and attention on the matters that really need personal attention."
Company and System Information
- Daihatsu Motor Co Ltd, the Japanese head office, was established in 1907, as one of the first manufacturers of internal-combustion engines in Japan. Daihatsu employs 21,450 people worldwide. Net sales in 1999 were Yen 891,403 million (US$ 7,394,470,000). Daihatsu Holland is the sole importer and distributor of Daihatsu Motors.
- Dealers dial a special phone number to get connected to the Daihatsu network. This network facility is called V-POP (Virtual Point of presence) and is similar to the facilities of a service provider, but a lot faster than the public net. The security at Daihatsu is provided by a radius-server, a FreeBSD firewall and standard AS/400 and LANSA security facilities. The Web server used is the standard IBM® Web server that comes installed on the machine.
- Daihatsu uses a single AS/400 model 170, 2385 for internal operations, the Web dealer net and IT development. The system currently supports about 50 internal users and 100 dealers.
- Daihatsu currently supports 3 local garage solutions: Carsoft, DeltaG and Car2000.
For more information, visit Daihatsu at www.daihatsu.nl